Let's take a break from fairy tales for the next few weeks in order explore a topic our inner child might enjoy.
Criteria for this list: movie had to be intended primarily for children (so nothing like Beetlejuice or the 6th Sense) and had to have ghost as a major character or plot point (so no Hotel Transylvania or Scooby Doo). And please no one try to argue with me that original Ghostbusters is a kid’s movie! I’m splitting this list up throughout the month.
Some spoilers ahead.
10. Are you Afraid of the Dark?
Okay, I know this was a television show and the acting within it was . . . not always easy to watch. But many of the stories of ghost children were the best. This show ran for a long time, so I’m only going talk about 2 episodes. The first is the Tale of the Lonely Ghost which was the first episode I ever saw (I skipped the pilot about the freaky clown). This episode was haunting because of the ghost’s backstory. She was a mute girl who essentially starved to death in her own house while her mother was away because of neighborhood bullies. As a kid watching, that was sad. As an adult watching, that is absolutely horrifying. Who were those bullies? I want to speak to their parents!
The other episode I will mention is the Tale of the Dream Girl, which I bring up because it was the basis for the 6th Sense. This one is less sad and more about coming to terms with death. As I said, M. Night borrowed this premise so I’m going to go ahead and give away the story. A teenager keeps seeing a beautiful ghost around his school and house, but his sister keeps trying to distract him from both the ghost and their mom’s sudden onset depression. As it turns out, the ghost was the teenager’s girlfriend. They died together in a car crash and, for some reason, he lost his memory when he started haunting his sister. What makes this so interesting is the fact that his sister tries to hold onto him and pretend that he’s still alive which gives an bittersweet take on the idea of not wanting to deal with death.
Part that was legitimately disturbing as both a kid and an adult: The general theme of Are of Afraid of the Dark ghost children episodes was that more people ignore ghost children. Won’t somebody think of the children?
This was a made-for-TV film about a pair of teens, played by Ricky Mabe and pre-24 Elisha Cuthbert, who are investigating the ghost of a woman who walks between their adjacent properties. The boy, Ben, is good at creating hoax ghosts and isn’t really a “believer”, but goes questing with his neighbor, Katherine, when he realizes that the see-though woman in his yard looks an awful lot like a portrait in his grandfather’s house. Plus, he has a crush on Katherine and I’m sure he thought he could convince her make-out in the midst of their paranormal research. Large parts of this are cheesy, but the ghost element is more of mystery handled through psychological reasoning as opposed to being just a scary, popcorn flick. That having been said, this title is just awful. Terrible, terrible title.
Part that was legitimately disturbing as both a kid and an adult: The misogynist bullying Katherine endures from other kids in their small town simply because her parents are dead. Oh and the ghost…I guess.
This list will continue throughout October. Comment below with what you agree or disagree with. :-)